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The Volkswagen Touareg

The Volkswagen Touareg is the unmistakable flagship of the VW range. You might be surprised to learn that it was launched way back in 2003, and almost 20 years on, is now in its third generation, with the most recent version having been launched in 2018. Time flies!

The Touareg has an instantly recognisable profile and an unmistakable presence on the road due to its sheer imposing size.

It is a chunky yet high class, and its looks have visibly evolved over the years to suit the changing tastes of discerning SUV buyers and keep it competitive in its very crowded market. Let's look at the Touareg in a bit more detail to see why it could make a good used Volkswagen for you to buy.

New Volkswagen Touareg R-Line

Why should I buy one?

The Touareg was updated in 2018 to bring it in line with VW's other SUVs' styling, particularly the Tiguan, which looks like a smaller version of a Touareg.

The Touareg is a large, luxurious SUV, and Volkswagen has deliberately set out to help it compete on a level playing field with perhaps more obvious choices such as Range Rover, Mercedes, and BMW.

This means that with the Touareg, you are buying a car that is packed with luxury touches and the latest technology, but with the bonus of Volkswagen's reputation for solid reliability. With access to the VW Group's extensive parts bin, the Touareg is fitted with tried and tested components.

The Touareg is beautifully built, and the cabin is a cosseting, comforting place to be. Build quality is an improvement over the previous version, and the Touareg is constructed with both durability and luxury in mind.

The interior is dominated by screens, one for the infotainment and a second one displaying the instruments Volkswagen calls Innovision. Everything is thoughtfully designed, sits well within reach and works intuitively, and the Innovision system helps reduce the number of buttons littered around the dashboard.

You will find plenty of room in the cabin for five adults to sit in comfort, with lots of headroom and legroom. Boot storage has also improved in the latest model, so it will happily accommodate luggage, shopping or whatever else you would need to throw in.

As you'd expect from a car of its size, the Touareg is a safe car, with a raft of safety equipment as standard, which helps it achieve the full five-star safety rating in its Euro NCAP crash test.

The driving experience is calm and comfortable, with excellent suspension, precise steering and reasonable handling. Still, the Touareg will very quickly remind you of its size if you try to throw it around too much.

You can improve the handling a little with the optional air suspension if ride quality is important to you. As with most other cars, bigger wheels will reduce the ride quality a little.

What engines and trim levels are available?

The Touareg offers a choice of two engine units, a 3.0 V6 TDI Diesel delivering either 231bhp or 286bhp, and a 3.0 TSI V6 petrol engine giving 340bhp.

The lower-powered Diesel holds its own with a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds, and the quicker version gets you there in 6.1 seconds. The TSI version achieves 62mph in 5.9 seconds but lacks the low down torque that the Diesels offer.

None of these could be described as frugal given their size and the large car they occupy, but the Diesel versions are more economical if you need to drive long distances.

There is a new R version with a plug-in hybrid engine based on the 3.0 TSI, with an added electric motor bumping it up to a total of 455bhp.

All models come with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive as standard.

While the engine choices are relatively simple, the trim levels are not. There are plenty of options, and you will need to research carefully to find the right one for your own needs and tastes, but here's a rough guide.

The entry-level version is the SE offering heated fabric seats, 19" alloy wheels, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. Upgrading to the SEL gives you extra luxury touches, including heated leather seats, comfort equipment and different 19" wheels.

The SEL Tech adds the Innovision digital cockpit, a powered boot lid, mobile phone inductive charging, rear privacy glass, upgraded sat-nav and USB charging.

The sportier R-Line offers sportier touches, including an R-Line body kit, 20" alloys, four-zone climate control, Park Assist, rearview camera and sports suspension.

R-Line Tech adds goodies, including keyless entry and starts, 20" black alloy wheels, digital cockpit and powered comfort seats.

The Black Edition provides 21" alloys, adaptive chassis control, black decorative touches, LED matrix headlamps and a panoramic sunroof.

Last but not least, the R will give you 22" alloys, 30-colour interior lights, active climate seats, and more R badges than you can shake a stick at.

What should I look for?

As you would expect from any VW group product, the Touareg is solid and reliable. While they are rarely used for off-roading, check the underside to ensure there is no damage underneath, indicating use on rugged terrain.

Look carefully inside for signs of wear, indicating heavy family use. Take a test drive and ensure the gears change smoothly, and there is no noise from the transmission because these could be costly repairs.

The Touareg's chunky tyres are expensive to replace to make sure they have plenty of treads left and are wearing evenly because any uneven wear could indicate a suspension problem.

Ensure that the car has been serviced on time and to the correct specification because late or missed services could tell other signs of neglect.

Given its technology, four-wheel drive and large engine, the Touareg is one of those cars that is probably best purchased from a dealer to ensure that it is fully inspected and comes with a decent warranty.